Hyderabad: While the state government mentions the system of hawkers with pride, the Enforcement, Vigilance and Disaster Management (EVDM) wing of the GHMC is busy evicting them from the streets.
The state government had in a report submitted to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), India, stated that the hawker system in Hyderabad was the backbone of the city’s economy with nearly two lakh people engaged in this activity. However, the EVDM has allegedly kicked out about 50,000 hawkers from their spots as part of its enforcement drives.
According to highly placed sources, Hyderabad city, which was awarded the title of ‘Creative City of Gastronomy’ from Unesco recently, had explained the importance of hawkers and their effort in strengthening the economy of the city.
The government, in its report to Unesco had said that apart from selling creative food at affordable prices, the hawker community also provided employment for 2 lakh individuals in the unorganised sector. It had pointed out that the information technology community has generated four lakh jobs, but this is only restricted to one part of the city.
However, public representatives in the GHMC council meeting held on Saturday alleged that the footpath encroachment removal drive and defacement drive taken up by EVDM has displaced 50,000 hawkers. The allegations were made by MIM MLA Meraj Hussain, MIM MLC Syed Amin Jafri and corporators cutting across party lines.
Members present in the council unanimously agreed that this was a great loss to the city’s economy. They demanded that Mayor Bonthu Rammohan explain under what provisions the EVDM wing was set up.
The members said that they were not against penalising violators, but the harassment and hefty penalties that are being slapped on people were unjustified. The elected representatives also said that the as many as 50,000 hawkers lost their livelihood, which was against the interest of the city's economy.
Though the council did not make any effort to reinstate the 50,000 hawkers, the objections did convince the council to rethink the hefty penalties, and a resolution was passed for a committee to be constituted to decide the penal amounts.
But the million dollar question which was not answered was how the GHMC would provide employment to the large number of hawkers who have lost their livelihood....